It’s no secret that peanut butter, along with ramen noodles and rice and beans, is a mainstay of many a budget meal plan and the butt of many a joke about monotonous and tasteless diets.
The same goes for the much mocked rice and beans. It strikes me as odd that people consider them boring and even unhealthy, given the huge variety of ways to cook them, and how nutritious and healthy they actually are for us.
I think they are delicious in all their many variations.
But the “poor man’s” food that receives the least respect of all, and undeservedly so, it seems to me, is peanut butter.
By rights, I should feel the same way about this legume. During my entire childhood we ate peanut butter regularly in brown-bagged sandwiches we brought to school. And most often, let me also say, the sandwich was a plain one, with jelly, jam, or Fluff only very occasionally added for extra flavor.
So you’d think I would despise peanut butter as much as its critics do. But nothing could be further from the truth.
I actually love peanut butter sandwiches, and consider them an indispensable lunch option. In fact, I just don’t feel they get the respect they deserve at all for their role in any budget-conscious (and allergy free, of course) household food plan.
Here are some reasons I think peanut butter deserves more respect and why any budget conscious household should include them as a part of a healthy diet.
- Filling and satisfying
- Low in sugar (if you buy brands with no added sugar)
- High in protein
- Low in saturated fat
- A source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6.
- Super easy to use. (Seriously, it’s so basic and simple that even a very young child can be taught to make his or her own sandwich).
- Free from nitrates and other questionable food additives
- Safe without refrigeration, so it can sit in lunch boxes or bags for hours without fear of spoiling.
- So neat and mess free that you can even eat a plain PB or a PB & J sandwich with one hand while you’re doing something with the other.
That last point is a key one that any busy person can easily appreciate, from parents of young children, to students and teachers on notoriously short 20-minute lunch breaks, to busy workers of all kinds.
After all, I’m sure I’m not the only person on the planet who has found herself so pressed for time that taking time out for a lunch break is simply not possible.
I’ve done that last one more times than is healthy, for sure. But it sure beats the other even less healthy option of no lunch at all.
So there you have it, some of the reasons that I think peanut butter deserves more respect than it gets and why I include it regularly in my weekly lunch meal plan.
It’s my homage to an unsung kitchen staple and indispensable food standby.